Quantcast has released a new study based on experiments they ran from August through October 2013 on more than 100 million impressions across 35 campaigns and six exchanges. The results of the study show dramatic discrepancies in viewability metrics. However, the results also show that measuring viewability is possible if you use the right vendor, and that the industry is rapidly converging on standards for metrics.
There are several interesting, if not totally new, findings:
1)Measuring viewability at scale is now possible, although viewability measurement vendors’ measurability rates, or the proportion of impressions they are able to evaluate as being in or out of view, varied by up to 30 percent for the same set of impressions. This, in turn, caused variances in reported viewability rates of up to 20 percent.
2) Viewability affects the entire ecosystem.
In our tests, higher-viewability sites cleared at CPMs up to 2x above average, suggesting that advertisers are already implicitly pricing placements with higher viewability into their bids. The disparity in CPMs between low- and high-viewability publishers will only increase as viewability develops into an explicit metric that advertisers use to evaluate ad vendors.
For two years now we have been testing our own formats with comScore and they have measured as 99% viewable. Since that measurement is for display ads, we’re now testing our video formats.
3) Quantcast tells advertisers they should partner with viewability measurement vendors to learn more about what constitutes viewability. They should then establish viewability goals for their campaigns that are realistic, and partner with vendors to achieve those goals.
4) As for campaign goals, those should also be realistic:
It is difﬁcult to achieve greater than 75 percent viewability with RTB ads due to the limited amount of inventory at or above that level of viewability. Ad viewability also depends on user behavior. Users can be quick to scroll or click away, creating a natural limit to what viewability goals are achievable at scale. It is agood idea to work with your media vendors to select viewability goals that suit your campaign.
Quantcast of course counsels its readers that as a baseline they ought to partner with the MRC-accredited vendors. As of this writing there are eleven of those. We predict more will come.